After receiving a threatening letter in the aftermath of the unsolved February murder of a local Black councilwoman, a New Jersey mayor has announced she would not run for re-election.
Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said at a borough council meeting earlier this month that she will step down at the end of her current term after a decade on the council and mayor since 2020.
“It’s a hard decision for me because I believe so passionately in this town, but I love my family more than anything in the world, and sometimes a good leader knows when it’s time to step down,” the mayor said.
The longtime local politician said that she’s no stranger to “nasty” and “borderline threatening” letters and messages, but since the Feb.1 shooting of 30-year-old councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour, she’s received even more “disgusting comments.”
Kilpatrick said the hate-filled letter was sent to her but opened and read to her by staff. “That letter was so heinous that it had to be immediately turned over to authorities in order to be processed for forensics and so forth to find out where it originated from,” she said.
The anonymous handwritten letter was “filled with swastikas and racial slurs,” Kilpatrick told MyCentralJersey.com. “I was called an ‘n-lover.’ Sentences were punctuated with swastikas. The letter included comments like I heard that one of your (racial slur) was murdered and something to the effect that more of you need to go,” she said.
Kilpatrick was so alarmed by the letter that she called the police and requested more security for her family and the area surrounding her home.
Dwumfour’s death has put the borough of Sayreville, which has around 45,000 people, on edge. She was discovered in her vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds near her residence. According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, there have been no updates on Dwumfour’s case, and the investigation is still open and ongoing.
Kilpatrick expressed concern about the safety of the borough’s political leaders and her own family. “When politics becomes something that you’re worried about for your safety, you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?” she added.